Hear The Track HereYet another new name to me. Damn this has been a good month for new music, and I can't always say that's the case. Paul Oakley is a guitarist from my own part of the world (sunny ol' England town...), like most of us has been slogging away at the musical coal face for years and found contentment online. Made a good few friends along the way too, he says, and ain't that always the way. The music, however is all Paul, yer actual one man band. Now I know a great many artists of this stripe, many of them good to excellent and I have a lot of respect for them, providing they do it right. However, also like most other people, I have a really short attention span for guitar instrumentals. Mostly because I hear way to many of them and also because I am a guitarist myself and I'd rather be playing than listening.
It takes then something really distinctive to rouse me out of my instrumental stupor and to be honest I could count the number of rock guitarists who really interest me enough to listen to everything they do is very small. So now it's obvious that The Last Pharaoh is a guitar instrumental let's don the Seven Veils and shimmy our way into it. The track is supposed to 'describe the last journey of a great pharaoh to his final resting place' and it does it in a surprisingly good way considering that it is - in tooth and claw - yer dreaded prog-rock and you know my feelings on that score. Paul has some depth as a player that was immediately obvious, as at ease in pretty, complicated structures as he was in full on Shreddomatic Mode. Believe me, this boy can shred with the best of them, you could go nuts trying to count the notes... Not that I did. (Ed: looks highly suspicious. He did, didn't he? That's the sort of nerdy crap he thrives on)
Aaah, but remember me foaming at the mouth at guitar instrumentals? Well, Paul got there before me too because The Last Pharoah works on that level too. I'm not automatically a fan of shredder guitarists; too much flash and not enough cash, unless they really are exceptional. Can't be sure of that on this track because the track itself is so well put together. While it doesn't sound all that Egyptian (or even Arabic) too me, the way Paul plays his guitar throughout this piece certainly is and consequently it may sound 'odd' to people. So, despite me having all the right reasons for not liking this track, I still came to the conclusion that its not possible, either as a guitarist or as a listener. A very, very distinctive track amongst so much been there, done that rock...
Highly Recommended (gulp) prog rock, guitarist alert!!